In the days leading up to William Barr’s congressional testimony, Palmer Report pointed out that the only goal for the Democrats was to find a way to catch Barr in an ugly lie or get him to admit an ugly truth. Once it was established in public view that Barr handled the Mueller report dishonestly in an attempt at covering up Donald Trump’s crimes, it would set the stage for the real witnesses.
As it turned out, when Robert Mueller’s letter surfaced accusing William Barr of lying about the Mueller report, it alone was enough to demonstrate that Barr had indeed led a coverup of Trump’s crimes. Barr’s subsequent idiocy during his televised Senate Judiciary Committee testimony was merely icing on the cake. By that time, the Democrats’ mission was accomplished.
Barr says he won’t show up to today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing about the Mueller report. Maybe he’ll relent at the last minute and maybe he won’t, but really, it’s probably better for House Democrats if he doesn’t show. The committee says it’ll hold the hearing with or without Barr, meaning it can use the process to educate the viewing public about all the lies Barr told yesterday, while pointing to Barr’s empty chair as proof that he has something to hide.
After today’s spectacle, House Democrats can carry out whatever legal punishment against William Barr they want. They can impeach him, hold him in contempt and have him arrested, announce that they’ll refer Barr to the DOJ for criminal charges the minute Barr is no longer in charge of the DOJ, or however else they want to make an example of him. But the upshot is that however Barr’s downfall plays out from here, it’s a sideshow.
The headlining show going forward is the public testimony of Robert Mueller, who can give the American public the real answers about what happened. The House Judiciary Committee said yesterday that Mueller will testify sometime this month. After Barr’s stunt, look for Mueller’s testimony to take place as soon as possible. The whole point of bringing Barr in was to provide context for Mueller’s testimony. That’s now in hand. It’s Mueller Time.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report